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Empty safe, 'suspicious' cylinder found in Pablo Escobar's Miami home

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Jan. 20, 2016 at 7:42 AM

MIAMI, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- A "suspicious" cylinder and an empty safe were found on ahead of the demolition of the Miami Beach home formerly belonging to Pablo Escobar, Colombia's most notorious drug trafficker.

The four-bedroom, six-bathroom home on Biscayne Bay was built in 1948. Escobar bought the property in March 1980 for $762,500. The demolition, which began on Tuesday, will be part of a documentary about the home's past.

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Most recently, the property, on North Bay Road on Miami Beach, was purchased in 2014 by Chicken Kitchen founder Christian de Berdouaré and his wife Jennifer Valoppi, a former local news anchor, for $9.6 million.

Escobar was known to launder massive amounts of money and known for hiding secret stashes of cash, drugs or valuables throughout his properties.

On Tuesday, de Berdouare showed a "suspicious" cylinder that was found under an old stove in the garage, describing the consistency of the object as "a white paste," The Miami Herald reported.

Miami Beach Police Department officials said the package was examined last weekend, adding that it did not hold ecstasy or cocaine.

De Berdouaré also said an empty safe was found hidden under a removable marble tile underneath the home's main staircase.

"Four of our workers saw it and didn't tell us anything because they thought we already knew of its existence," de Berdouaré said, adding that the safe was emptied "within the last 30 days."

"The safe was 10 inches wide and 18 inches in length ... we don't know what it had inside or if it was empty," de Berdouare said.

Demolition of the home was expected to take up to three weeks and will cost about $35,000. Berdouaré plans to build a new, modern home on the 7,336-square-foot property.

The federal government reportedly never searched the waterfront home when it was seized from Escobar in 1987, generating rumors about possibly hidden wealth.

Escobar was regarded as the "King of Cocaine" with a net worth thought to be about $24 billion -- recognized by Forbes magazine at the height of his power as the world's seventh-richest man.

The Colombian drug kingpin was imprisoned for about a year before he escaped in 1992. He spent several months on the run before he was shot to death by a special police unit in 1993.

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